An assortment of permaculture-related information.

Creating a food forest

This is an outline that aims to be as succinct and as actionable as possible. It is written from the perspective of a smaller-scale effort in a temperate (zone 6) climate.

It's a continual work in progress. Tweet me!

Season: Fall

  1. Decide scale and location

    • Concept: one person, year-after-year development of food forest in smaller sections or "chunks"
    • Sections or "chunks" could be anywhere from 4 square meters upwards depending on time, energy, cost, existing resources, available tools, and ambition
    • Factors that might influence food forest location: sun intensity; shadow; slope of land; proximity to home, other structures, utilities, or neighbors; desired plants (see 2.1); #Issue: more comprehensive list needed
    • Call utilities and be safe
  2. Approximate types and numbers of plants

    • Food-producing trees and shrubs
    • Nitrogen fixing trees and shrubs
    • These plants are the most immovable and should be designed around
  3. Land shaping for water investment

    • Mantra: slow, sink, spread, store
    • Use the tools you have: shovels, tractors, subsoilers, mattocks, chain saws, axes, rakes, etc.
    • Shape for the climate you're in: trenches, berms, pits, mounds, swales, subsoiling, keylines, keyline swales, terracing, micro swales, etc.
    • Keep water away from homes and structures to avoid foundational damage
    • Implement food forest sections in order from fastest rate of water loss to lowest - or from the highest point of your land downwards
    • Keep your entire end vision of land shaping in mind as you work section by section
  4. Cover it

    • Woodchips (12 inches)
    • Cardboard plus compost
    • Cardboard plus topsoil
    • Cardboard plus weights
    • If mid-late summer or early in fall, buy cheap nitrogen-fixing, or early-succession, cover crop seeds(ex: dandelions, diakon radish, clover, alfalfa, etc.) #Issue: need better examples of early succession seed compositions
    • Bonus if these cover crops are sacrificial and distract critters (bunnies) from your other desired spring plantings, if you're not going to...
  5. Fence it (optional)

    • Useful if you have hordes of hungry bunnies, other destructive animals, or a larger section of land
    • Consider chain link fencing components (terminal posts, tension bars/bands) for more structural elements in tandem with welded wire fencing, t-posts, t-post clips
    • A post driver w/handles seems to be a smart thing...
    • Galvanized items
    • Poultry netting 12 inches below ground and 3 feet above
    • Cheaper initial investment: poultry netting with garden stakes can be enough to deter lazy bunnies, but it depends on your local critter temperment

Season: Winter

  1. Seed purchasing

    • Winter sowing seeds
    • Spring broadcasing seeds
    • Lots and lots of perennial seeds/seedlings that you desire in your food forest and if the sacrificial plants are not sprouting while your desired plants are - then this strategy wont work
    • #Issue: section unfinished
  2. Winter sowing

    • #Issue: section unfinished
  3. #Issue: section unfinished

Season: Spring

  1. #Issue: section unfinished



Tools and resources